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Showing posts from 2020

A Narnian Silent Night

Silent Night, Holy Night: All is calm, the Witch is gone! Father Christmas comes again; Joy is ours, for Aslan reigns! Narnia sleeps in peace, Narnia sleeps in peace. Silent Night, Holy Night: The snow falls on Aslan's How. Moonlight makes the snow to shine With a glory all divine. Aslan, our true king, lives! Aslan, our true king, lives! Silent Night, all is well: Pilgrims we to Cair Paravel. Fawns dance for us, as we sing; Homage pay we to the High King. Aslan will come again! Aslan will come again!

God's Inexorable Love

  Have you ever asked God to stop loving you so much?  I’m sure that sounds like a strange thing to ask, but C. S. Lewis, in his book The Problem of Pain , explains to us, that if we are complaining or resisting uncomfortable or painful things in our lives - which his providence has allowed - we may be doing just that very thing.  Why?  How?  We are forgetting that God’s love for us is an inexorable love.  If someone is being inexorable, they are insisting on their own way about things, regardless of how much someone may be complaining about it and petitioning against it.  God has an inexorable love for us, and that means he is going to insist on giving us what is best for us, even when we don’t like how he’s doing it. Here's an example of God's inexorable love: Jesus comes riding into Jerusalem in a fashion which he knows is a fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy about the way the king of Israel would come home to his capital city.  The people realize that he is making thi

The Nature of Christian Surrender

[Paul on the Road to Damascus by Rubens] Years ago, there was a lot of debate in evangelical circles about "easy grace" and "Lordship salvation."  The concern was over people who were being told that they could become a Christian without submitting to Jesus's call to discipleship, as if discipleship was an optional add-on for people going to heaven.  The answer was that "Jesus must be Lord of all or he is not Lord at all."  "The disciples were first called Christians in Antioch" (Acts 11:26).  In other words, a Christian is a disciple; discipleship is not an option. We can understand that some evangelicals were so afraid of Pelagianism (salvation by works) that they could reduce the call to "repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ" [Acts 20:21] to just "believe in Jesus," and even minimize that belief to mere intellectual assent to the claims of Christ.  But that is surely a classic example of throwing out

An Important Conversation

Douglas Murray and Dennis Prager hit on issues important for Christians who seek the redemption and healing of our culture for God's glory and the good of our neighbours.  

CS Lewis on "Rejoice in the Lord"

In Chapter 4 of The Problem of Pain , when Lewis affirms that we ought to experience the emotion of guilt or shame related to our sinfulness, he does not do so because he thinks we should be a gloomy people.  He sees those emotions as alerts to the fact of our sinfulness, which we need to honestly and concretely acknowledge and not forget.  But as for the climate of our souls, he recommends - as a "layman," of course: "My own idea, for what it is worth, is that all sadness which is not either arising from the repentance of a concrete sin and hastening towards concrete amendment or restitution, or else arising from pity and hastening to active assistance, is simply bad; and I think we all sin by needlessly disobeying the apostolic injunction to 'rejoice' as much as by anything else." (p. 61, 2001 ed.) He speaks of our refusing to rejoice as "needless."  It is needless because there is so much to rejoice about, and because we are not commanded to be

A problem with "kindness"

"...pity for the oppressed classes, when separated from the moral law as a whole, leads by a very natural process to the unremitting brutalities of a reign of terror." (The Problem of Pain) People that want to tyrannize will cultivate the idea of "oppressed" or "victim" classes in the society they want to rule.

70th Anniversary of LW&W

James K. A. Smith on Augustine

Living Within the Unseen - The Transfiguration

Raphael's "Transfiguration" Yesterday, I was in a discussion with some of my fellow UTC students about the last chapter of C. S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters .  In the last letter, "the patient" dies in the London blitz.  At this man's death, the veil between the seen and the unseen worlds was removed.  He saw Wormwood, the demon who had been tempting, and he also saw the angels the Lord had sent to bring him home into his presence.   This lead us to talk a bit about the reality and presence of angels in our lives.  One person mentioned Paul's statements about our warring in the heavenly places.  I noted that the heavenly places are not spatial, hierarchical areas that are geographically above us.  Rather, we live and move and have our being in them.  It is true that there must be locales in the unseen realms, for there are multitudes of finite beings who live there (angels, souls of saints, Jesus of Nazareth), and in order to interact with one ano

The Free Speech Union

If we do not maintain free speech in our society, we forfeit the ability to freely make disciples in our culture.

Nothing New

Here's an interesting excerpt from an article about reasons behind the War Between the States.  Sound familiar?  Just change "Republican" to "Democrat" or vice versa.   "5. Republican willingness to protect terrorists. The John Brown terrorists who escaped to the North were incarcerated. The states with Republican governors refused to extradite them [for prosecution in Virginia] and let them go. The South looked upon this as a preview of what they could expect from a Republican president. When John Brown seized Harpers Ferry, Democratic President Buchanan sent in the Marines. The Southern leaders asked if they could expect the same from a Republican president? The answer was no." [source:  ]

Ephesians 3:1-13

We are taking turns teaching through Ephesians for our church Sunday School this summer.  This is my first turn.  I provide an overview of the epistle up to this point, explain why Paul has interrupted himself as he was going to write another prayer, and then focus on an important application.

Your elders

Greetings. I just read a news article where someone locally made the statement that our highschool and college students can understand the injustices of our society, so why cannot the grownups? Well, first of all - contrary to her accusation - there happen to be grownups who are aware of social injustices and actually have been addressing them for some time - this person and her young friends just don't have enough history in their background to realize that. Or perhaps they don't socialize with enough grownups to realize it. However, the main response is simple: Grownups have more sense than to let their kids decide what is best for our society.

Not sure what to do?

II Kings 7:3 And there were four leprous men at the entering in of the gate: and they said one to another, Why sit we here until we die? 4 If we say, We will enter into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there: and if we sit still here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us fall unto the host of the Syrians: if they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die. If I do nothing, nothing will happen. If I do something and it is not right, God will shut the door. If I act, and the door is open, then God's will is done. So, imitating these lepers, I get up to do XYZ that is at hand, and whatever other good I may do. I will watch God work. Why not? The next steps will become evident as I act.

Letter to Sen. Blackburn

23 June, 2020 Dear Sen. Blackburn: Greetings.  Thank you for taking the time to talk with Hugh Hewitt this morning.  Poor Hugh.  I love him, but he's such a radical Lincoln-loving Unionist that he fails to understand the sentiment of our country after that war.  When the war was over, there were many efforts made to reunite the country.  Each side was allowed to have their heroes, but in addition, these heroes were owned by the whole country.  Why?  For all those generals were Americans - especially if the Northern view of the politics of the war was correct.  America was proud to have been the homeland of several of the greatest military geniuses in history, who were praised around the world: Generals Lee, Jackson, and Forrest.  The American history textbooks written for our schools not only praised the Northern generals but the Southern as well - for we were all Americans.  Many of these Confederate officers had stirling records in the U.S. Army before the war.  In

Peace in Christ: Sermon for Rogation Sunday, 2020

I begin my sermon around 27 minutes into the video; text is the last part of John 16:23f.  Of course, I start out with a goof up, saying Jesus wants us to pray in the Father's name.  Thankfully, I got on track. :-)

Response to Injustice

The best thing the Church can do in the face of any social injustice is to stay on mission.  Sin is the reason for injustice, and the only one with the power to deal with it is Jesus.  The wisdom of God is greater than the wisdom of man: "make disciples of every nation."  That's God's program for the peace of this world (remember the angels' message to the shepherds) and for the ultimate resolution of all things.

Tolkien's "Discovery" Method

Having recently re-read Carpenter's biography of Tolkien, I keep thinking about how he often wrote or talked about discovering elements to his stories.  For example, he would come up with a name for character in a story, and then he would say he had to "discover" where this person came from and what they were like, and so forth.  He treated his stories as if there was a real history behind them, and he had to research and find out what that history told him. My past reaction to this method of "discovery" was simply that this was a verbal construct on his work of imagining.  "I have to discover," meant "I'm going to go off and dream this stuff up."  However, I have also recently been learning how the act of writing can lead to thoughts coming to us which may not have come to us otherwise.  There is something about the connection between how our brains work and the act of putting pen to paper.  I'm now wondering if this is connecte

A Christian View of Death and Dying - Part 4

A Christian View of Death and Dying - Part 3

A Christian View of Death and Dying - Part 2

A Christian View of Death and Dying - Part 1

New book out

You can find it here on And here on

Why Study The Four Loves?

Gospel Morality Preached by the Apostles

To teach the standards of moral conduct that adorn the gospel and insist that our hearers heed them is neither legalism nor pharisaism but plain apostolic Christianity.” Stott,  The Challenge of Preaching , p. 35 And what is gospel morality?  We could answer from, say, the apostle Paul’s letter to Ephesus, where he speaks of what we have been taught by the gospel, contra to the old way we used to live.  But, seeing that the apostles’ teaching was based on the teaching of our Lord, we need to ask, “What morality did Jesus teach?” The answer to that question is simple: the very same morality he taught on Mt. Sinai to Moses: keep the law, which is summarized in the words, “Love God and love your neighbour.”  This is why Paul tells us in Romans that the Spirit has been given to us so that the righteousness of the law - which we had avoided and broken - might be fulfilled in us. Jesus was not a legalistic or a Pharisee.  He came to save us from our sins, viz. our transgression.  

Through A Glass, Darkly - Gen. G. S. Patton, Jr

For my fellow fans of Gen. George S. Patton (and Scott's portrayal as well) Through the travail of the ages, Midst the pomp and toil of war, Have I fought and strove and perished Countless times upon this star. In the form of many people In all panoplies of time Have I seen the luring vision Of the Victory Maid, sublime. I have battled for fresh mammoth, I have warred for pastures new, I have listed to the whispers When the race trek instinct grew. I have sinned and I have suffered, Played the hero and the knave; Fought for belly, shame or country, And for each have found a grave. I cannot name my battles For the visions are not clear, Yet, I see the twisted faces And I feel the rending spear. Perhaps I stabbed our Saviour In His sacred helpless side. Yet, I've called His name in blessing When after times I died. In the dimness of the shadows Where we hairy heathens warred, I can taste in thought the lifeb

Will God appear to me? C. Wesley

The Mystery of Godliness [2 Cor. 8:9; Rev. 19:13] With glorious clouds encompassed round, Whom angels dimly see, Will the Unsearchable be found, Or God appear to me? Will he forsake his throne above, Himself to worms impart? Answer, thou Man of Grief and Love! And speak it to my heart. In manifested love explain Thy wonderful design: What meant the suffering Son of Man? The streaming blood divine? Didst thou not in our flesh appear, And live and die below, That I may now perceive thee near, And my Redeemer know? Come then, and to my soul reveal The heights and depths of grace, Those wounds which all my sorrows heal, That dear disfigured face. Before my eyes of faith confest, Stand forth a slaughter'd Lamb: And wrap me in thy crimson vest, And tell me all thy name. Jehovah in thy person show, Jehovah crucified! And then the pard'ning God I know, And fell the blood applied. I view the Lamb in his own light, Whom angels dim

The Name Above All Names

On this day, the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ, the Epistle reading in the American Prayer Book (1928) is that famous passage from Philippians 2, where we read that, at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that he is Lord.   In the Jewish tradition, a child is named at his circumcision (which is why Christians traditionally name their children at their baptism).  Thus, Mary's child was given the name Jesus on this day - but what a picture!  The name given on this day is the name of him who would save his people from their sins.  It is the name of the promised King.  It is the name before which everyone - and that means everyone - will bow and confess that he is indeed Lord of all.   When Jesus was circumcised, he - as in his baptism - fulfilled all righteousness and was made like his brethren.  He continued his act of humility, becoming another son of Abraham, a member of his own covenant with Abraham centuries before.  Yet, in this hum